Riser Pumps

Heating Charges? Have you been overcharged?

In 2019 Southwark Council decided to upgrade part of the heating system, installing nine new heating riser pumps (2 each for hot water & heating, to provide failover & redundancy) and upgraded the control boards, which distribute the heating & hot water to all the tower blocks.

Since the new heating risers have been fitted in October 2019, we have had multiple heating outages – I have recorded 48 outages that I have personally reported. There is also a new problem with an unbearable humming noise coming from the pipework, if the heating riser pumps are run at over 40% of their operational capacity. Despite that it is obvious that this humming noise originates in the plant room (it can be heard from the plant room at the base of each block) LB Southwark are insisting that the noise issue is being caused by the existing pipework.

LB Southwark are now proposing to replace all the heating riser pipes in Summer 2021, which they will expect you to pay for. This is despite the fact that with the same pipework worked perfectly well with the previous riser pumps, we had no noise issue. It seems pretty obvious that the new riser pumps are totally incompatible with the existing system they were installed into.

This has been an ongoing issue for the last 18 months, in fact the noise has been such an issue that some residents have moved out of their properties, some have taken to sleep in their cars in the car park as a result of sleep depravation, and a number of residents have been having mental health issues.

I am outraged that we have already paid £1,800 each towards a heating system upgrade that has been a catastrophic failure, is chronically unreliable, and has introduced an unbearable humming noise that reverberates throughout our homes.

Repairs vs Improvements

LB Southwark are only permitted to charge leaseholders for repairs, not improvements.

The new heating riser pumps & control system is far more sophisticated than the one it replaced, with dual auto-switching pumps, reactive temperature control & switching based on outside temperatures, and remote monitoring software. In our view, this is most definitely an improvement, and as such should not have been charged to leaseholders. I believe that there are 129 leaseholders who were unfairly charged for this new control system.

The contractor, BSW heating, have verbally admitted that the cause of most of the outages is caused by the new sophisticated control system. The new control system provides monitoring of water pressures on each floor. If it detects a pressure change, it presumes there is a leak & resets the system a number of times, before shutting the whole system down.

Join us to challenge these charges

We are proposing to form a group of leaseholders to look at getting some professional advice to challenge the charges. We will need to get some expert opinions from a law firm on these charges & also get a report from a qualified heating engineer, regarding the noise issues and the need to replace the pipework. If we can get as many leaseholders as possible to join this action, we can share the costs of the professional reports and advice. If everybody makes a small contribution, we can get this action started. We have also been in touch with the Leaseholders Association of Southwark who have agreed to support us with this action.

If you are interested in joining this group and looking to get refunded the £1,800 you have already paid, and avoid being charged for the new pipework, please register using the link below:


Tribunal backs leaseholder on District Heating

Please see the link below where a leaseholder won back £4,000 from Southwark in May 2020